A few years ago, hip-hop laymen would argue that the world needs an album like Fizzyology, the collaborative release from frequent collaborators Lil Fame, of M.O.P., and Termanology. But in 2012, tough-talkin’, chest-stompin’ hip-hop is alive and well. Most importantly, though, it’s also rather bountiful thanks to the Internet, where guys like Sean Price, Ka, and Roc Marciano can catch a healthy buzz and sustain it via their grimy street narratives and, in the case of Price, gut-busting punchlines.
And that’s not say we don’t need more hip-hop like that. Anyone who can flesh out that particular lane with a new angle would be welcomed by the listening community with open arms. But when you fall into the tried-and-true(-and-tired) realm of gully boom-bap, well, you’re just selling yourself short. That’s the most glaring issue across Fizzyology, which plays out like a retelling of every “NYC” rap album from the past two decades or so.
Whereas the aforementioned MCs are able to use elements of streets-ready boom-bap in their releases, Term and Lil Fame sound so stuck in an era that it’s like they walked down to the New York sewer system and got caught there. Too many tracks are essentially the rugged rap version of color by numbers, be it the threatening “Not By You” and “Too Tough for TV”, clumsy “Family Ties”, or under-performing posse cut “Play Dirty”, which features DJ Premier on the beat and guests Busta Rhymes and Styles P. Also, the Bun B-featured “Hustler’s Ringtone” looks like an underground jam on paper, but it’s too laden with misfiring punch lines and verbal darts. Also, everyone agree that Bun’s been kind of mailing it in these past few years.
The true saving grace of Fizzyology is in the work of Lil Fame, who produced more than half of the album under his Fizzy Womack alias. He is a bit too concerned with emulating Premo at times, see “Hustler’s Ringtone” and “Too Tough for TV”, but “Pray for Me” is a shining light amid the muck. Fame’s vocals serve a refreshing, albeit hype-inducing, break from
Term’s clearly skilled but grating approach. If Lawrence, Mass. native isn’t whisper rapping, he’s dropping lackluster metaphors and yawn-worthy punch lines. One half clearly can’t save the whole, though, and even those of you wanting to “yap that fool” by the end of Fizzyology probably won’t feel that way a day later.